‘While looking for something else’ I found an article about what used to be pre…schools (and that earlier were known as ‘nursery schools’) and are now called “preK.” I think the change in wording from “pre[before]-school” to “pre[before]-K[indergarten]” is significant, but I will leave that point alone this time, as I will the point about education as an industry.
Campaign Watch: Spotlight on Two Early Education Laggards, 3 June 2008, The Early Ed Watch Blog, New America Foundation
Today’s final Democratic presidential primaries have focused public and media attention on South Dakota and Montana, two largely rural western states that get the last vote in the 2008 primary season. Here’s something else these two states have in common: They’re both early education laggards
Debate over the measure illustrated that “culture wars” opposition to preschool, from conservatives who view it as a gateway to government intrusion in the family, is still alive and well in some states, particularly those that lag on early education.
The name-calling caught my interest — I don’t find anything neutral about “laggards.” I did a search for “New America Foundation” and found many items in my email alone.
- Charter Schools: An Important Partner Supporting Quality Pre-k, 2 April 2008
- Pre-K Advocates of a Certain Age, 25 March 2008
- Let’s Count: Boosting Math in PK-3, 18 March 2008
- Continuing the Investment, 19 November 2007
That last item, “Continuing the investment,” has some strong statements, so I pause here in listing the emails for “New America Foundation” — Google says I have “21 results stored on your computer.”
Advocates of universal pre-K are nothing if not visionary. They view universal pre-kindergarten as not just an end in itself but also a first step toward much more comprehensive public social welfare programs for preschool-age children and their families: prenatal care, parental leave, universal children’s health care, and quality child care. For these advocates, the case for universal pre-K is also the case for new state-level systems, policies, and institutions that would serve children from birth through preschool.
The universal pre-K movement isn’t just about offering another social service: Pre-K advocates are actually building a whole new system of public education, and that has implications for the existing K-12 public education system.
Put a “whole new system of public education” together with compulsory schooling laws, and add in the “vision” of the advocates of “universal pre-K.” The picture I see is of parents delivering babies and children to wherever it is that the visionaries see the cadre of professional child-raisers bringing up the babies and children. That place sure does not look like home.
The writer explains that contrary to conservative opinions, and despite conservatives ‘fretting’ about sending children to school at increasingly younger ages:
By working together to build high-quality pre-K programs, education reformers and pre-K advocates can also open the door for improvements in the elementary and secondary education system.
This means that the schooling experiments on little kids can lead to better schools for bigger kids, so the people in South Dakota and Montana had best get with the program. It doesn’t matter that these states have low numbers of citizens — Montana is #44 in population and South Dakota is #46 — and that the number of children not schooled as toddlers must also be low, everyone must participate.
The tertiary system — colleges and universities — isn’t neglected either.
States must also build new systems of teacher preparation and professional development to help experienced preschool teachers who lack a bachelor’s degree meet new, higher education standards.
That reminds me of something a drill sergeant told us recruits, “There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way.” Apparently, the “experienced preschool teachers” are to learn the Educational Industry way. Their vision is of people either as students or teachers, with the teachers teaching the students to be teachers.
I understand that the article is about schooling, but given the amount of time taken from the lives of people as they grow, do these visionaries see infants, babies, toddlers, children, teens, young adults, and adults doing anything other than living at school?